Pro-Am Class Win on a tough Fuji weekend
Absolute Racing serviced teams endured a tough weekend at the Fuji Speedway in Japan for round four and five of 2019 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (PCCA)where the weather conditions made life very difficult for everyone.
- Bao Jinlong wins Pro-Am Cup Round 5
- Sathienthirakul and Hamprecht collect vital points
- Kusiri debuts with a fastest lap
The weather around Mount Fuji makes for unpredictable conditions and this weekend was no different, complicating the life of drivers and engineers. Heavy rains made for a challenging Saturday, with drivers ultimately setting out to complete a full 30-minute Qualifying during a partial break in the heavy rains. But the still-wet conditions challenged drivers who had to navigate the soaked circuit as they pushed to set the fastest times possible to determine Sunday’s starting grid.
Sathienthirakul led the #AbsoluteRacing teams charge in the qualifying session, posting the fourth best time in the session, two places ahead of his country fellow Kusiri. On the other side of the garage, Hamprecht had uninspired qualifying, setting the seventh best lap time of the field 24-car field in the wet afternoon. Bao Jinlong posted the quickest lap time of the Pro-Am class but he has been slapped with a three-place grid penalty for tomorrow’s race one.
Due to the weather conditions, the PCCA Organising Committee has been forced to reduce the number of races of the weekend to two, cancelling Saturday’s afternoon race and adding a third race to the next race weekend in Malaysia.
The weather was brighter on Sunday morning for the first race of the day. Starting from P7 Hamprecht limited the damage by finishing fourth overall, one place ahead of his Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia teammate Sathienthirakul. The German youngster ran out of luck in the second encounter later in the day, being forced into a spin in the first corner on lap 1. He still managed to recover from the very last position to seventh overall, dropping to third in the standings.
Sathienthirakul replicated the race one result in race two, scoring valuable points for his championship challenges. His result allowed him to remain 6thin the Overall championship standings.
Fellow Thai driver Kusiri was using this PCCA outing as extra practice and development time in Carrera Cup car. So #88 Absolute Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry driver was please with progress over the weekend. He finished P6 and P8 in both races, setting the fastest lap time of the race in the process. He will take the improvements into his Porsche Supercup campaign where he is contesting the full series.
Down in the field, in the Pro-Am class, Bao Jinlong of Zheng Tong Auto was decided to overcome the grid penalty and a strong race allowed him to finish second in the class. The best was kept for last with the Chinese driver crossing the finish line in first, which moved him to the lead in the Pro-Am standings.
Commenting about the weekend, Fabien Fior (Team Director), said: “This has obviously been a very frustrating weekend for our team even if we took a Pro-Am race win with Bao Jinlong and we have been very close have cars in the overall podium. Like in previous seasons here in Fuji the team’s pace throughout the whole weekend was very strong and qualifying result doesn’t reflect the whole pace of our drivers. The proof lies on Kusiri’s fastest lap time in race two. Despite the difficult weather conditions throughout the weekend the cars worked flawlessly and the team did a very good job. We will put this race behind us, regroup and go forward from here. We hope for more in Sepang and for the remainder of the season.”
The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will now travel to Sepang in Malaysia for Round 6 and 7 on July 12-14.